Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …
My first class was in August 2007 at the Kits studio. My sister, Katie, dragged me along after telling me about the various benefits of Bikram Yoga, and how much it would help my athletic endeavours. Ultimately, I wanted to increase my flexibility and try something different than a traditional workout at the gym.
What was your first impression of Bikram Yoga? Did you love it or loathe it?
I could not believe how hot and humid the class was – I’d never sweated so much in my life. It was, and still is, the most difficult and challenging workout out there. There is such a big cardio component to the yoga, which I did not think would be a factor. I cannot say that I loved it immediately, but I definitely felt amazing after that first class.
What was it that finally got you hooked?
Initially, I wasn’t “hooked.” I think I came back a couple of weeks later. A few months later my sister came back from Teacher Training and I started to go to the studio a bit more often because I wanted to take her class. I would take class sporadically without any real consistency, so I did not really see a great deal of improvement.
Then, about two years ago, I underwent surgery on my elbow from a baseball injury; several months after that I purchased a year unlimited package and started going to Bikram Yoga four to five times a week – or more. Taking class is like hitting the reset button and getting rid of all the junk in your body. I enjoy the euphoric feeling after finishing a class – no matter if it was a good or bad class.
Lately I’ve only been practising a couple of times per week because I injured my knee in the yoga room (lesson learned: be careful and aware of your body, no matter how many classes you’ve taken).
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
I find that it keeps me focused and calm outside of the yoga room. I do not really let anything bother me, and try not to sweat the small stuff. I really notice the difference it makes after not going for a few weeks – especially sleep-wise. I think just getting the blood flowing and detoxifying the system really makes me feel healthier overall. I also think that yoga makes you smarter.
What do you find most challenging about practising Bikram Yoga?
I still find the heat overwhelming at times. I think the most challenging thing is that every class is different, and some days are better than others. But as teachers commonly say, “The only bad class is the one you don’t come to.”
I’ve never been a big fan of Eagle Pose but, right now, I’m really liking the backward bend part of Half Moon Pose. It feels good to move the spine in a direction we are not accustomed to … not to mention the head rush that you get with it!
Any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
Get back to yoga more often, and to be easier on myself.